Archive Home arrow Reviews: arrow Cases arrow Fractal Design Define XL Computer Case

Fractal Design Define XL Computer Case E-mail
Reviews - Featured Reviews: Cases
Written by Doug Dallam   
Sunday, 22 January 2012
Table of Contents: Page Index
Fractal Design Define XL Computer Case
Closer Look: Exterior
Detailed Exterior Features
Detailed Interior Features
Final Thoughts and Conclusion

Fractal Design Define XL Computer Case Review

Manufacturer: Fractal Design
Product Name: Define XL
Model Number: FD-CA-DEF-XL-USB3-BL
Price As Tested: $149.99 at NewEgg

Full Disclosure: The product sample used in this article has been provided by Fractal Design.

“Long Live the Extra Large Full Tower PC Case?” My last review at Benchmark Reviews left off praising the shrink factor of technology and the maturation of micro cases (Silverstone PS07b micro case ). At the same time, Benchmark Reviews has been busy reviewing monster sized cases. One conclusion that can be derived from the size and options of PC cases is that the PC case is not nearly as dead as some surmise, be they large or small. Otherwise, we'd be getting less variety and more generic offerings, along with fewer manufacturers.

Diametrically opposed to the idea of PC and PC case obsolescence, the venerable PC computer enclosure doesn't seem to be in any danger of extinction. Rather, the PC case seems to be moving forward at a quickening pace. In fact, new offerings seem limitless and one might argue that the PC case is just now hitting its stride.


Although small is the way of technology, huge and imposing cases have their market share and their followers too (me being one of them). Thus, to the zeal of full tower aficionados, the Fractal Design Define XL Full Tower Silent Case should fit right into the current market of PC case enclosures. It's a solidly built and heavy case, weighing in at 39.5 lbs. dry, which outweighs the Rosewill Blackhawk-Ultra HPTX Case by 3.0 lbs (and the Define XL is not an HPTX case)! I don't know what the “XL” stands for, but it should stand for “extra solid, extra heavy, and extra large” and I intend to show you just why that is.

Define XL Features

-Stylish design
-Pre-fitted with noise absorbing material
-Configurable thermal chamber design
-Great cooling possibilities, 3x fans included (2x 140mm, 1x 180mm)
-10x HDD slots Unique ModuVent™ design in side panel

Define XL Specifications

*2x 140mm fans (one 140mm included, one optional) with removable and washable filters, in the front. Recommended for intake of air.
*x 120mm fan optional with removable and washable filter, in the front. Recommended for intake of air.
*1x 180mm fan included in the top of the case. Recommended for exhaust of air.
*1x 140mm fan included in the rear of the case. Recommended for exhaust of air.
*1x 120/140mm fan optional in the side of the case. Recommended for intake of air.
*4x 5,25" bays, 1x 5,25" to 3,5" converter included
*Mini-itx, micro ATX, ATX and E-ATX motherboards
*10x HDD trays. 4x HDD trays in the HDD cage in the main chamber. This HDD cage is removable and rotatable.(Space ~330mm with HDD Cage and without ~480mm)
*6x HDD trays in the lower HDD chamber. These HDD cages are fixed.
*A total of two 140mm fans and one 180mm fan included.
*Front 140mm fans are mounted with removable, washable filter.
*A fan controller is included, for mounting in one of the rear expansion slots.
*Pre-fitted with dense noise absorbing material in both side panels.
*ModuVentTM feature, allowing the user to choose between an optimal low noise level, having the cover mounted or optimal airflow by removing the cover and mounting a fan for intake.
*Maximum PSU length: Supports PSU's with a depth of maximum circa 180mm
*Maximum Graphic Card length: Supports graphic card lengths up to 330mm when removable HDD-Bay is in place
*Maximum CPU cooler height: Supports CPU coolers with height of 180mm
*Expansion slots: 7+1
*On top of front panel: 2x USB 2.0, 2x USB 3.0 and Audio I/O
*Case size (WxHxD): 232x560x561.3mm
*Net weight: 17.95kg



# RE: Fractal Design Define XL Computer Case ReviewDoug Dallam 2012-01-22 15:16
Sub-ing and here's to "your message isn't long enough."
Report Comment
# RE: RE: Fractal Design Define XL Computer Case ReviewBill Egge 2012-02-02 07:56
Looks like a giant black binder.
Report Comment
# RE: RE: RE: Fractal Design Define XL Computer Case ReviewDoug Dallam 2012-02-02 13:56
LOLz. Thanks Bill for the laugh on the link. And yes it does, a very, very heavy one.
Report Comment
# RE: Fractal Design Define XL Computer Case ReviewDavid Ramsey 2012-01-22 16:12
Interesting design features in this case...when the front door is closed, where do the front fans get their air intake? It looks as if there might be some airflow in from the sides...
Report Comment
# RE: Fractal Design Define XL Computer Case ReviewDoug Dallam 2012-01-22 17:30

That is correct, with the addition of the bottom of the bezel that has a pull hole too.
Report Comment
# Fractal Design Define XL Computer Case ReviewPaleRider 2012-02-01 21:06
You say that we've "a market awash in full tower cases." Exactly how do you arrive at that conclusion?
I just searched NewEgg for "Computer Cases." No specified size. Just "Computer Cases."
NewEgg has 548 "Computer Cases" listed for sale. Looking over at the left side, where this entire section is broken down by numbers of different sized cases, ther are 87 "Full-Tower" cases listed. There are also 8 "Super-Tower" cases listed.
That 95 out of 548 cases that are larger than "Mid-Towers" and smaller cases.
How do you come to the conclusion that we're "awash in Full-Tower cases"?
Why are you reviewing them? There's no way I'd ever trust a single word you print about these larger cases.
Report Comment
# RE: Fractal Design Define XL Computer Case ReviewAcid Rain 2012-02-02 13:54
If 95 choices of what you put computer parts in isn't a market rich with choices, what is?
Report Comment
# I still rememberBruce Bruce 2012-02-02 14:01
Does anyone remember when the ONLY cases you could buy were knock-offs of an IBM design? 95 different vendors - ONE design.
Report Comment
# RE: RE: Fractal Design Define XL Computer Case ReviewDoug Dallam 2012-02-02 14:15
I wssn't going to say anything because it sounds like a troll. But yeah, and not only that, it's around 100 on all sites, including Amazon, and each of those vendors continues to update their full tower offerings at a regular pace.
Report Comment
# duhMergatroid 2012-02-02 21:18
95 out of 548 cases is "awash" in my books. Anything over 10 would qualify, which means we're pretty much "awash" in all case types. That's pretty true, there's a ton of all sorts of cases available. In fact, I'm surprised there's a big enough market to support them all.

I have to ask, why shouldn't he review them? I enjoy reading about all sorts of cases, and I'm sure others do too. Why should he not review them just because, for some reason, they don't make you happy?

Your message doesn't make any sense to me.
Report Comment
# RE: duhDoug Dallam 2012-02-02 22:48
Thank Megatroid, but you know the rule: Don't feed the trolls.

Report Comment
# Computer Case ModderEnigma8750 2012-02-01 21:23
I love the Fractal Design case. As was said in the Review. The case is built like a Volvo. That means it is built to last. Also it is such a great clean Slate for Modder to Work with. Great Case. Awesome work FD.
Report Comment
# RE: Fractal Design Define XL Computer CaseAthlonite 2012-02-02 16:01
I would have given it a nine out of ten as the top front panel USB and eSATA look #ty and poor positioning of the WC grommets right above the first slot covers oh yeah thats gonna be terrific when it comes time to upgrade that graphics card
Report Comment
# Would like to see images...whynotv2 2012-02-16 03:42
...with components installed. It's a personal thing, but I prefer seeing a few images with the motherboard, hard drives, etc. installed. Images of the cables actually routed and an "opinion" as to how quiet the case actually is. Good images and physical details (weight of panels with scale, etc.).

Very nice case and has me actually thinking about replacing my Lian-Li case. Now, if this case only came in windowed... :)
Report Comment

Comments have been disabled by the administrator.

Search Benchmark Reviews

Like Benchmark Reviews on FacebookFollow Benchmark Reviews on Twitter